Portions of the former
Besancon Historical Society website
are hosted here,
for the benefit of researchers,
Allen County Genealogical Society
French American Society
The French American Society was established in 1903 in Allen County, Indiana. Their meeting place was the Joseph Langard Saloon on the corner of Barr and Columbia Streets in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The society had about 600 members and dues were reported to be one dollar per year. An annual picnic was held at the Centlivre Park that drew over 6000 people. An annual dance was held at Minuet Hall. At the time of WW I the name of the society was changed to "Lafayette Legion." Death benefits of $200 were paid to the estate of members as late as 1947 even though the society disbanded about 1923. A photo take in June 1915 at Centlivre Park had the following people. These members were identified by Allen and Gladys Lomont and their friends.
|Alex Banet||Lomont, Ernest|
|Banet, Henry||Lomont, Frank E.|
|Banet, Jesse||Monnier, Elmer|
|Belot, Frank J.||Mourey, Frank|
|Bobay, -------||Mourey, Raymond|
|Bobay, -------||Parrot, Joseph|
|Cayot, Jesse||Pepe, Amiel|
|Centlivre, Louis||Pion, Charles|
|Corneille, Charles||Pion, Louis|
|Coulardot, Hypolite||Reuille, Joseph|
|Coulardot, Joseph||Rosselot, Fred (president 1915)|
|Coulardot, Narcis||Rosselot, Fred Jr.|
|Didier, Clem||Rosselot, Harry|
|Frane, Charles||Roussey, Amiel|
|Frane, Lester||Roussey, Frank|
|Girardot, -------||Roussey, William|
|Girardot, Clem||Sarrazine, Charles|
|Girardot, Henry J.||Ternet, Charles|
|Gladieux, Amiel||Touisaint, Joseph|
|Gladieux, Charles (Mike)||Touisaint, Jules|
|Gladieux, Frank||Townsend, George W.|
|Gladieux, Louis S.||Townsend, William|
|Gremaux, Arsane||Trenchet, Pidgy|
|Kleinreichert, ------||Urbine, Louis|
|Kline, Frank||Urbine, Peter|
|Litot, Joe||Voirol, Louis|
NEWSPAPER INFORMATION ON THE SOCIETY FORMED BY FRENCH IMMIGRANTS
The Lafayette French Benevolent Society was formed February 14 , 1861 in Allen County, Indiana. The location of the first meetings is unknown. By 1868, the society was meeting the second Saturday of each month at Hall No. 54 E. Main Street in Fort Wayne,. At this time A.H. Carier was president; A. Parnin was secretary and J.B. Chauvey was treasurer.
By 1873 membership was at 100 and the meetings were at their hall in Taylor's Block on Barr street between Main and Berry streets. They met the second Saturday of each month at 7:30 pm. President was A. H. Carier, John Laurent, secretary; and Joseph Didier, treasurer.
A notice in the Daily Sentinel of August 13, 1875 tells of a picnic at Centlivre park next Sunday. The proceeds will be donated to the relief of the suffering by the great flood in the south of France.
February 8, 1879 the society held their annual meeting for the election of officers. A. Parnin, secretary. Jan 28, 1879
Fort Wayne Daily Gazette notice Feb 6, 1883
Notice is given for the annual meeting on Saturday February 10, 1883 for the election of officers. Francis Sallier, secretary
The following officers were elected: President-A.H. Carier; Vice-presidentll-C.F. Eme; Recording secretary-F. Sallier; Corresponding secretary-J. Simon; Treasurer-A. Parnin; Commissary-A.Lordier; Directors- L.T. Bourie, James DeGrattery, Dr. J.M. Rosenthal, X. Cheviron.
Fort Wayne Weekly Journal-Gazette August 18, 1904
The French American Society was organized Sunday afternoon at a meeting held in Langard's Hall on East Columbia Street. The following officers were elected: President-Joseph J. Romary; Senior Vice-president- Jules Simon; Corresponding Secretary-Prof. A.J. Didier; Recording Secretary-Frank J. Manuel; Treasurer-Charles F. Centlivre; Marshal -F.X. Didier.
Prof. Didier delivered an address in French and in English. He advocated a union of the people of French origin in a social organization to keep up the memories of the fatherland, to preserve their mother tongue and to keep their customs.
Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel August 18, 1904
The New French-American Society will adopt an insurance feature, providing that upon the death of any member the remaining members shall pay $1 into a fund to be given to the widow or other beneficiary of the deceased. Chariman C.F. Centlivre
Fort Wayne Daily News July 16,1906
The annual meeting of the French American Society was held at Centlivre Park. The sons and daughters of France numbered over 2000 and friends of the members swelled the attendance to 4000 or 5000. The address of the day was given by Judge Edward O'Rourke who recounted the earlier history of Fort Wayne, in which the early French settlers bore a very prominent part. Also there was a vaudeville and performance on the trapeze. Warm meals were served.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette November 29, 1906
The annual dance of the French-American Society was at Langard's Hall. At the front of the hall hung the old flag of the first French-American Society of which the present society is a successor. It is a silk American flag except in the blue field it bears an inscription: The Lafayette Benevolent Society of Fort Wayne organized February 14, 1861.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette September 28 1911
Mr. A.C. Gladieux, chairman of the reorganization committee, received yesterday from the secretary of state, the cerificate of the incorporation of the French-American Society of Fort Wayne. The new corporation is a reorganization of the old French-American society and has a membership of over 400. It pays death benefits to its members and is the only French-American society in the state.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette June 9, 1914
The French-American society, composed of over 500 active members will meet on Columbia Street (Langard's hall) on Sunday at 1:30. They will march in a body to the front of the court house, where a picture of the entire group will be taken. This picture will be presented to the France-Amerique National association in Paris by Prof. Claude Michelon. A copy of the by-laws and a record signed by all the members will accompany the picture as a token of friendship and remembrance from the French people of Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette March 11, 1918
The organization voted to invest $500 in war savings stamps. The society has purchased $3000 worth of liberty bonds in the two previous campaigns.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette May 14, 1923
The organization adoped a new name which will be know after July 1st as the Lafayette Legion. Insurance policies will be issued members in good standing.